U.S. consumer spending stalls after adjusting for inflation

Retail Sales

Retail sales rose 0.9 percent in August, the most in six months, the Commerce Department reported earlier this month. Receipts were driven by auto dealers and service stations. Higher gasoline prices that left consumers with less to spend on other goods.

Merchants and their suppliers, including railroads and cargo companies such as Norfolk Southern Corp., FedEx Corp . and United Parcel Service Inc., are reporting slowing global demand.

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., the operator of more than 1,000 home-furnishing stores, this month reported second-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ estimates. Discount coupons to drive traffic cut into profit margins, Steve Temares, the Union, New Jersey-based retailer ‘s chief executive officer, said on a Sept. 19 conference call.

Employers added 96,000 workers to payrolls last month, less than the 130,000 projected, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent after 368,000 people left the workforce. The jobless rate has exceeded 8 percent for 43 months, the longest stretch since monthly records began in 1948.

Spending Breakdown

Adjusting consumer spending for inflation renders the figures used to calculate gross domestic product. Price-adjusted spending on durable goods such as automobiles climbed 0.5 percent last month, today’s report showed. Purchases of non- durable goods, which include gasoline, rose 0.3 percent, and services dropped 0.1 percent, the weakest reading since January 2011.

An index of inflation tied to spending patterns increased 1.5 percent from August 2011, compared with a 1.3 percent gain in the 12 months ended in July. The so-called core price measure, which excludes food and fuel, rose 0.1 percent from the prior month.

Bloomberg News

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